30 December 2015

Quantity versus Quality Beers

As I have mentioned a few times, I used to be guy who loved nothing more than pounding large quantities of macro beers with little in the way of flavour. When I started using Untappd to track my beers, I would call these beers "cleansers" and pound one or two between trying a new craft beer. Really it was a way to get hammered  but also try and feel like I was just cleansing my palate for the next beer. As the night would go on, there is no way I could actually taste the new beers, but I was to screwed up to realise this.
 I now understand that I was more enamoured with getting drunk than exploring beer. This breakthrough for me was the key to ending this practice and getting my life back together. I have dubbed these tasteless bastards Quantity Beers for the fact that this is what they are designed to do. I imagine most people can have one or two Budweisers or Maclays and stop, I could not. Stopping just short of becoming a full blown alcoholic was the only thing that kept me alive. Quantity Beers are generally Lagers, with an almost tasteless profile that, when ice cold, flow past the taste buds and into your system with no pause to consider the flavours and textures. Their main claim to fame is that they are "cold". That has absolutely nothing to do with the brewing process and everything to do with what you do to the beer when you get it home. Try to drink a Molson Canadian anything but icy cold and you will be in for a foul shock. But salvation was at hand for the fat man.
I used to think this was a good beer
  The more I tried good beer, the more I came to understand the nuances that make up the different styles. While in the beginning I found all IPA's to be like pine tree syrup, I began to notice the citrus and grapefruit notes that make them so tasty. The same goes for stouts, saisons and a whole world of beer styles I never even knew about. These are Quality Beers. Even if I rate one of these beers low, it is a personal preference and not a reflection of the brewers intent. I have come to love some styles, like saisons, which I detested not even a year ago. I have become a stout-head for sure this winter with all the roasted, coffee and dark chocolate offerings coming out as the weather turns cold. Quality Beers are, to me, brews that are meant to be appreciated. The flavour profiles and textures of these beers show the care and love put into their design and creation. It is not unusual for me to take an hour plus to finish a big Imperial stout because as it warms it becomes more complex .
When I had a Carling last week I was struck by how syrupy it was. All my body wanted was to gulp it back in as little time as possible and grab another one. When you pay attention to what you drink as opposed to just pounding it back in a few swigs, it opens up your tongue to what is really going on. It had a really thin profile that when warming released a lot of sugar into my system and gave me no satisfaction. I cannot drink these beers anymore. They are the gateway to a whole lot of trouble and I have no desire to be a Quantity beer guy again. I don't buy them, not because I am a beer snob (debateable) but because I know it only takes one or two to send me off to the races of frat boy life again.
  I will always seek out Quality Beers. It isn't as cheap as the Quantity choices, but you get what you pay for. Good beer not only brings so much more to the table, these tasty beverages allow me to enjoy a pint or two without reverting to my old destructive behaviours.
  Cheers to well made Craft Beer. May the brewers of these suds be blessed with an ever expanding creativity and may we, the consumer, be smart enough to keep supporting them. I know I will.
New Zealand! Tasty and complex.

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